I can pinpoint the exact moment in time when I became a chicken, and it was not, as some might expect, the moment I pushed out my first baby (although having children has inexplicably altered my ability to ride anything that spins). No, I became a chicken on mild day in March 2003, when Hub, my brother and I all went snow tubing. It was a rather warm day, close to 40 degrees, and we’d talked about going for some time. This would probably be our last chance of the season, so off we went.
The warm air had made the slopes a bit slushy, but it was still fun. Not too fast; I would say just right. As the sun went down though, the temperature dropped and that top layer of slush turned to ice. I was starting to get cold anyway, so I decided to take one more trip down and then I was going to go to the lodge for some french fries and cocoa until the guys were ready to go.
I could feel the difference in the snow as the lift pulled my tube to the top of the hill. Definitely slicker. I could see the tubers going down the hills to my right, screaming their heads off. At the top I was warned to go down on my belly so I could control the tube with my feet—a warning which I ignored. I started down the hill on my bum and could feel the difference in speed. I bounced higher off the bumps. It was exhilarating and so fun…and then I flipped. I flipped completely over and landed with my head stuck in the snow, ostrich style. It hurt like a mother, but I had to get up and get back down the hill because other people were coming. I was scarred for life.
We’ve been sledding a few times since then, but the kids have been small and content to go down baby hills with Hub. Hub has also built hills on our front lawn for the kiddos in the past and that has worked out just fine. When he called on Saturday and suggested sledding at a local park, I was ok with it—I would at least have the baby to hide behind. Plus the zipper on my down coat had broken, so all I had was my wool coat. So sure we could go. He would deal with the big kids and I would handle the baby.
Until of course, Bud asked me to go down with him. And how do you say no to your pleading first born? So I said yes, and down we went in the new tube we bought him for his 6th birthday. I was petrified and probably would have peed my pants if I’d had time to think about how scared I really was. It seemed like an eternity until the sled stopped moving and the adrenaline and sheer terror pumping through my veins was probably the only thing that got me back up the hill, instead of laying at the bottom and crying. I hated every second of it and Bud found that to be very amusing.
The kids did end up having a blast though, going down with Hub and each other. Lucy was too scared to go by herself, but Bud went down a good 10 times solo. He’d have gone 50 more if we’d have let him. Liv was content to be pulled around in her sled and conned all of us in to taking a turn. We stayed longer than we planned, until dusk had settled in. My terror aside, it really was a good day.